Biological Psychological and Social / Cultural Issue of Rape Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Rape as a Social Issue


The social problem is identified as rape, which is defined as forced sexual intercourse on a person without their consent or permission. Rape might involve threat of force, physical force, or may occur against a person who cannot give consent. A person is considered incapable of giving valid consent if they are incapacitated, unconscious, or below the legally accepted age of consent. Sexual intercourse covered by rape is vaginal, anal, or oral. It might also involve the usage of an object or a body part. Many cases of rape are not reported because the victims fear social stigmatization. Before the 19th century, rape was a crime that would go unpunished. Men had the right to own other people's bodies, which allowed them to do as they pleased. Women and black people were discriminated upon, and they were used for the satisfaction of men's sexual urges. This made rape a common occurrence that was considered by law as legal. Husbands could also rape their wives, as this was legal. During the 19th century, women could only bring rape charges against their assailants if they had an impeccable record of chastity. The women were also required to show proof they fully resisted the assailant. If the accused assailant was black the story was completely different. The black man was not allowed by law to rape or have forcible sexual intercourse. The man would be hanged or castrated, and outside the law, vigilantes could lynch the man. White women and black women could do little to defend themselves since they did not vote or have any presence on juries. This denied white women the opportunity to avenge for the crimes committed against them.

Rape prevalence

United States estimates, approximately 80-90% of rapes are unreported Dartnall & Jewkes, 2013.

Trends also indicate that one in every three American women has been sexually assaulted in their life, and one in seventy-one men have been raped in the United States. Estimates also indicate that 99% of rapists are men. This demonstrates that women are perceived as the weaker sex and disrespected within the society. Society gives out messages that make it alright to disrespect women, or women are only viewed as sexual objects. This perception leads to a breakdown in society, as more women will continue to be raped. Typically the rape victim is aged between 16-24 years old for women. This might indicate that men are not raped, but cases of men rape are rarely reported. The rapist is a man aged 25-44 years old, and they will plan their attack. According to statistics, the rapist will opt for a woman of the same race. In a majority of the reported rape cases, the victim knows the rapist. Alcohol is identified as a contributor in one of three rapes.

Fifty percent of rape cases occur in the victim's house. Either the rapist will break into the house, or they will access the house using false pretenses. This demonstrates that the rapist has planned their attack, and they are aware of their intentions. Marital rape is also common though it is rarely reported due to fear or embarrassment.

Social theories of rape

Sexual inequality is a contributor to rape within the society. Men rape women to demonstrate their dominance over women. Men use rape to intimidate women and push for their dominance within the society. In sexually permissive societies, men will take rejection personally, and this will result in frustration, which would force the man to rape the woman. This indicates that rape is more of a social problem, since it is based on the societal perceptions. Gender inequality has allowed men to view women as inferior, and they should submit to men. This gives men the impression they can rape women as they are more dominant.

According to Baron and Straus (1989)

social disorganization is another theory that could apply to rape. A rapist will mostly come from a society that encourages or approves of rape. The society would not see rape as a crime, but rather as a necessity for the satisfaction of men. Children raised in a house where the father constantly abuses, and rapes the mother would assume that it is okay to do the same when they grow up. Prevalence of pornographic material within a society would contribute to rape. Pornographic material corrupt the minds of people as the material would show provocative photos of women. In the material women would be treated as whores and this would show that women should only be used for sex. Based on the materials, the society would believe that it is okay to have forcible sexual intercourse with a woman as demonstrated in pornography.

Social services for addressing rape

There are sexual assault centers established within the society that deal specifically with victims of rape. These centers provide the rape victims with initial care and evidence collection. The workers in the center are trained personnel who understand the need to provide care and treatment to the victim as well as collect vital information for evidence. Victims are offered counseling service, which allow them to cope with the trauma. The counseling offered also involves family members. This will ensure that the victim's family understands what has happened, and they offer the victim the necessary support.

Testing is also carried out at the center to check if the victim is infected with any sexually transmitted disease, or for pregnancy. In case of any exposure to HIV, the victim is informed of the risk and the necessary precautions they need to take, and offered post-exposure prophylaxis. Social workers will provide the victim with the necessary support and enroll the victim in support groups. The support groups will offer the victim some support and provide the victim with information on how they can cope with their trauma. In case the victim has suffered physically, the social worker will offer care services and follow-up on the victim after treatment.

Rape affects a person emotionally, and this might result in loss of employment, as they might not concentrate on work as expected. This would result in a negative economic impact on the victim's family especially if they were the sole breadwinner. Without proper counseling, the victim would not manage to cope with the trauma and this could result in psychological problems.

Solutions to rape

At the individual level, people should understand that rape is a crime, and it has negative effects on the victim. Teaching people within the society to respect women will reduce the gender inequality issue. This will enable people to start viewing women as equal and not inferior to women. Promoting gender equality would assist in reducing the case of rape Schewe & O'Donohue, 1993.

Women ought to begin standing up for themselves and not entertain the negative comments promoted in the media regarding women. Once individuals start viewing women as equals, the potential of rape will reduce drastically. At the family and group level, parents should not abuse one another in the presence of their children. Children raised in abusive families tend to be abusive when they grow-up. Parents should constantly inform and educate their children on the negative effects of rape and reinforce that the act is illegal.

The perception that women are unequal is developed and promoted at the family and group level. People should be discouraged from making discriminative statements about women, especially statements that would result in promotion if inequality. Parents should discourage and prevent their children from accessing pornographic materials. This will ensure that their minds are not corrupted. Society should educate people to respect women. Promoting women in a different light within the society will change the perspectives that people have regarding women. Encouraging women to take up prominent roles within the society would…

Sources Used in Document:


Baron, L., & Straus, M.A. (1989). Four theories of rape in American society: A state-level analysis. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Dartnall, E., & Jewkes, R. (2013). Sexual violence against women: the scope of the problem. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 27(1), 3-13.

Schewe, P., & O'Donohue, W. (1993). Rape prevention: Methodological problems and new directions. Clinical psychology review, 13(7), 667-682.

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